Arna's Biggest Win So Far

by Michael Guerin

The biggest win of Arna Donnelly’s career capped the best year of her life in harness racing on Friday night.

Donnelly trained her first group winner when Kango led throughout for an outstanding win in the $50,000 Lincoln Farms Franklin Cup at Alexandra Park.

The giant pacer had been well beaten when chasing off a back mark at Cambridge last week so this time David Butcher decided to turn the tables on his rivals and even when challenged hard by Hot And Treacherous mid race he refused to concede.

That proved to be the winning of the race as Kango fought off his rivals, even clawing his way back past Steel The Show when he appeared to have his measure at the 100m mark.

Bad To The Bone was third, Krug a big fourth without ever looking a chance and Bettor Twist got disconnected from the body of the field early and with Kango pacing 3:20 off the front that was the end of her chances.

The win left trainer Donnelly beaming after her biggest ever success and one she earned as she could easily have hunted easier targets after Kango was so well beaten last week.

“We decided to give him his chance and he proved us right and I am so stoked,” says Donnelly.

“It caps a great year for us and that is my biggest ever win.

“I’m so excited I can barely think what we will do with him next. But obviously the Auckland Cup further down the line and who knows, maybe even the slot race.

“But I am going to enjoy this first before I worry about all that.”

In the race previous Bolt For Brilliance justified his hot favouritism in the $30,000 Greenlane Cup but not without a fight.

Superbly driven by trainer Tony Herlihy as he reined his 3600th domestic winner, Bolt For Brilliance raced keenly in the one-one in the middle stages and took a bit out of himself but was still able to wear down a brave Temporale.

The latter was forced to sit parked on a hot speed and had every reason to buckle at the 400m but did a huge job not only to tow the winner into the race but hold second.

The win was Bolt For Brilliance’s 14th from 31 starts and he will now head to the feature trots coming up at Cambridge on January 7 and 13 before Herlihy sits down with the owners to discuss whether they should seriously consider an Australian campaign.

That could mean travelling without Herlihy because of the Covid restrictions but with Sundees Son now confirmed to not go to races like the Great Southern Star, Bolt For Brilliance may never get a better chance to race for the sort of money he can in February without taking on the horses he has to at home.

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